AIER’s economics-across-the-curriculum approach is designed to encourage the infusion of economic concepts into various disciplines and across instructional levels. In 2017 our program attracted a diverse group of participants from middle school to college who are teaching a variety of subjects presented in the table above.
Aside from economics (31 teachers), the most common subject area of the participants was personal finance and financial literacy (18), followed by history (16), government and civics (15), and business (13). We also had six teachers each of mathematics and geography, and small constituencies of engineering, science, computer science, foreign language, and psychology.
As for instructional levels, we experienced a true diversity. Even though the majority of our participants were high school teachers, we had three teachers from middle school, five community-college professors, and four traditional-college professors.
The broad range of subjects and instructional levels implies a wide variation in the participants’ understanding of economic concepts. This variation presents the challenge of bringing all teachers to the same level of content knowledge before the start of the workshop. As a solution, this year we developed a rigorous 13-hour online course for teachers to complete prior to the workshop. The online activities provide participants with a common understanding of the concepts presented at the workshop. In addition, having participants complete the online modules prior to the workshop allows for more time to engage in active learning during the workshop itself. The activities related to pedagogy, infusing a concept into a curriculum, and developing a lesson implementation plan inspired fruitful discussions and sharing ideas.
As we close 2017’s Teach-the-Teachers Initiative, we are looking forward to working with teachers who decided to implement their idea in the classroom: the field test. The field test allows us to collect data on students’ knowledge acquisition. These data will help us not only to improve the workshop, but also to contribute to the national efforts of economic educators to measure the impact of teaching economics, as described in my previous blog.
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